Previously in Leeford Village: Clare revealed the band’s bass player, Ziggy, is her ex-boyfriend. Gail Perkins named her accomplice in the arson incident as Martin Frobisher, the mysterious ‘Swede’, who suddenly appeared in the village a few months ago. Ted has unwittingly entered The Cross’s six-a-side walking football team into the local eleven-a-side league. Despite warning Allen Gomez about his duplicitous behaviour, Linda is keen to continue their relationship.
It’s late and Sherry has been calling Linda for the past two hours. She is about to report her missing when she hears a key turning in the front door. She breathes a sigh of relief and steps into the hallway.
‘I thought you’d been mugged, or something. Where’ve you been?’
Linda hangs her coat behind the door.
‘I needed to clear my head, Sis.’
‘For four hours? Your head must be empty by now.’
Sherry laughs at her own quip, but Linda walks quickly past her into the lounge where she flops down on the sofa. Sherry sits next to her.
‘So, did you give it to him, Lin?’
A surge of blood rushes to Linda’s head.
‘Did you tell him what we think of him?’
‘Oh. Yeah. Yeah, I did.’
Linda’s phone vibrates in her pocket. Luckily, Sherry is in the midst of her rant and does not hear it.
‘What a sleazebag! He wanted both of us. Can you believe it?!’
Linda shakes her head.
‘I never ever want to see him again!’
‘We have to see him again, Sherry. He’s our boss.’
‘Yeah. Shame. Still, I bet you frightened him off.’
Linda rises from the sofa.
‘I’m off to bed.’
Sherry lunges forward and surprises Linda by throwing her arms around her.
‘Thanks, sis. I’m so glad you saved me from that idiot.’
Linda pulls herself away.
At the top of the stairs, Linda reads the text.
Hi. What a fantastic night. Can’t wait to see you again. Tomorrow? Call me. Al xx
Clare raises her sticks high in the air. The band wait for her to give the signal and then, give or take a semi-quaver or two, they strike the final power chord together. Zack imagines himself running to the front of the stage, foot on monitor, his adoring fans baying for more. He imagines Clare looking from behind her drum kit, jealous at the adulation he is receiving from girls in the front row of the arena, who will later gather backstage, only to be told by Zack’s entourage that he has left the building. He is brought back to reality by his mother entering the room.
‘I’ve brought some lemon squash and biscuits.’
The band smile at her politely and Zack mumbles a very quiet, ‘thanks’.
‘Well, you’re all working so hard. I thought you need a little break. Give me a shout if you’d like some more.’
Zack is aware of Simon and Adam smirking and his face reddens.
‘Ok, Mom,’ he says nodding towards the door.
Mrs Peterson is about to leave when she notices a couple of empty coke cans on the floor.
‘Oh, my goodness. You don’t have a rubbish bin down here, do you? I’ll bring one next time I come down.’ Simon has his back to the rest of the room and Zack can see his shoulders moving up and down.
‘Thanks, Mrs P,’ says Adam, his smirk now a wide grin.
‘My pleasure, love,’ says Mrs Peterson.
Adam and Simon burst into fits of laughter as soon as Zack’s mother closes the door.
‘What?!’ shouts Zack, his voice a mix of anger and embarrassment.
‘Lemon squash and biscuits! Very rock and roll, Zack.’ Simon fails to stifle his laughter.
‘OK, OK,’ says Zack, ‘just get on with the next song.’
‘Right everyone,’ shouts Adam. ‘You all know our primary school favourite, The Wheels on the Bus, do you?’
At this, Simon collapses onto the floor.
While Zack is focusing on the antics of Simon and Adam, he does not see Ziggy take a glass of lemonade and a handful of biscuits from the tray. Neither does he see him take a second glass and pass it to Clare.
‘Football? At your age? Are you mad?’
Agnes pours a bucket of oil into the chip fryer.
‘You’ll have a heart attack!’
Cody puffs out his chest.
‘I’m as fit as I was twenty years ago. Fitter, because I used to smoke then.’
Agnes looks him up and down the focuses on Cody’s not inconsiderable middle-age paunch.
‘Ok, I might need to shed a few pounds,’ says Cody, patting his stomach.
‘Underneath here, Agnes, is a six-pack waiting to get out.’
Agnes shakes her head.
‘A Watney’s Party Seven, more like!’
‘Good grief, Agnes. Now who’s showing their age!’
Jack Simmons is scanning the six-a-side sign up list at the end of bar.
‘Usual, Jack?’ calls Ted.
‘Yes, please, Ted. It’s a fine team you’re forming here. A little on the mature side, perhaps, but a fine team, nonetheless.’
‘Ah, but age has no bearing here, Jack. This is walking football. It’s like normal football, but everyone has to walk.’
‘Never heard of it,’ says Jack, walking to the other end of the bar to greet a pint of mild.
‘It’s becoming a big thing, Jack. There’s lots of men, and women for that matter who want to play football, but whose legs no longer carry them along like they used to. Walking football is the perfect sport.’
Jack sips the froth from the top of his pint.
‘Sounds daft to me.’
‘I bet you have some football quotes, Jack.’
Jack puts down his glass and leans towards Ted.
‘In football, everything is complicated by the presence of the opposite team.’
Ted puts his finger in the air. ‘Wait, don’t tell me. I know that one.’ The contortions on Ted’s face would certainly not be out of place in a gurning competition. However, he has to admit defeat.
‘Can’t remember, Jack. Who was it?’
‘Jean Paul Sartre.’
‘Oh, I see. No, I didn’t know that, Jack. Who did he play for?’
‘You off out again?’ Sherry is scraping chocolate chip cookie ice cream from the bottom of the tub as her sister comes into the lounge to look at herself in the mirror.
‘I thought we were having a girly night in?’
‘Yeah, me too, sis. Kelly just called. She wants an urgent heart to heart.’
Linda tries her best to sound disappointed.
‘Kelly Bale. From the surgery?’
‘Yeah. She sounded very upset.’
Linda dabs gloss onto her lips and pouts at the mirror.
‘Girl, you look great,’ she thinks to herself.
‘I didn’t know you knew her that well.’ The ice cream tub is now completely clean and Sherry gives the spoon a final lick.
‘But she wants a heart to heart? With someone she hardly knows?’
‘Well, sometimes it’s better to discuss things with someone that’s not too close to you, don’t you think?’
Sherry crushes the empty tub on the coffee table and a dribble of trapped ice cream escapes from the bottom. She scrapes it up and licks her finger.
‘I tell you everything. I don’t need no one else.’
‘Well, you’re you, aren’t you? People are different.’
She hates lying to her sister, but the thought of her knowing the truth is too terrible to contemplate. Kelly Bale lives far enough away for her sister not to encounter her anytime soon.
‘Won’t be late,’ she says, giving a wave as she leaves the room.
Sherry sighs and slumps in her chair.
The band has three songs ready to perform at the fête and Zack is pleased with the progress they have made. Lemonade has been drunk, biscuits have been eaten and they are packing their equipment.
‘What are we called?’ asks Adam, wiping a cloth over his strings.
‘I haven’t thought about that?’ says Zack.
‘We need a name,’ says Clare, ‘anyone got any ideas?’
There is a couple of minutes’ silence, while numerous band names are silently considered and rejected.
‘I know,’ says Simon, ‘‘the Lemonade Drinkers’!’ He laughs out loud, but the running joke has already worn thin.
‘Sorry,’ he says, sheepishly, ‘I thought it was funny.’
More silence follows.
‘Difficult isn’t it?’ says Clare, unscrewing her high-hat cymbals.
The others nod in agreement.
‘The Leefords,’ says Zack, hopefully, but the blank looks he receives from the others tell him what they think of his idea.
‘The Villagers,’ offers Adam.
‘It’s good, but there’s already a band called The Villagers,’ says Simon.
‘Why don’t we go away and come up with ten names each. We can decide at the next practice,’ suggests Zack.
They agree this is a sensible option and are about to leave when Ziggy says, ‘Fait accompli.’
‘Sorry?’ says Zack. This is the first time he has spoken to Ziggy since Clare revealed their past relationship.
‘Fait accompli’,’ repeats Ziggy.
‘”Fait accompli”?’ Simon looks at him, quizzically. ‘What do you mean? We haven’t decided the name. How can it be a “fait accompli”?’
Ziggy laughs. ‘It’s not. But it’s a good name for the band.’
‘Go on,’ urges Adam.
‘Our first gig is the village fête, right? I thought a name that had fête in it, would be good.’ Ziggy looks around the room for support.
‘It makes no sense,’ says Zack, ‘it’s even spelled differently.’
‘It doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t have to make sense. It’s just a name.’ The lack of opposition from everyone apart from Zack gives Ziggy a surge of confidence.
‘Fait Accompli’, he repeats.
‘Yeah, definitely has a ring to it,’ says Simon. Adam nods in agreement.
‘What about you, Clare?’ asks Ziggy.
Clare zips up her stick bag. It is a while before she says, ‘I think it’s a great name.’
‘That’s that, then!’ says Adam, clapping his hands, ‘it’s a fait accompli!’
Adam and Simon congratulate Ziggy, shaking his hand and slapping him on the back. Clare continues to pack up her sizeable kit, aware of Zack backing out of the room without saying a word.
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